7 March 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
Bethan Thomas is the co-founder of HotTea Mama, an award winning specialist tea company creating blends to support women with periods, pregnancy, breastfeeding, motherhood and perimenopause. Having worked as a tea buyer and blender and become the first non-Chinese person to get a degree in Tea Science at the University of Forestry and Agriculture in Fujian, she was inspired to set up HotTea Mama after having children in 2017. With her best friend Kate, they developed a tea range to help alleviate some of the less pleasant parts of motherhood – morning sickness, birth preparation and breastfeeding. The range has now grown to cover periods and perimenopause, as common issues of reproductive health where tea can be a natural support.
What would you love to share to encourage other women to start their own business?
Starting your own company gives you the freedom to create something that would almost certainly be impossible in an established business. I’d created hundreds of tea blends throughout my career at big UK tea firms, but none of the blends were as personal to me and give me such great satisfaction. There are no creative limits when you start your own company and this is really free-ing. I also feel very honoured to be able to create a work culture that I have often found lacking in the businesses I’ve worked in, which for me is creating a genuine balance between work and family life – but whatever it means for you, you can do it.
What are your top 5 tips for entrepreneurial success?
Get as broad a range of opinions on your NPD and product offer as you can before you produce it – get as much feedback as possible from friends and family when you start up, have all the meetings and conversations that you can, to ensure your idea is sound and you are heading in the right direction. We met with VC companies before we even had a product, just to get their opinion and insight, and it was invaluable.
Join online communities – Enterprise Nation, The Food Hub and now Young Foodies, have been a brilliant source of support for me. It can be lonely being an entrepreneur, and connecting with like minded individuals is really useful.
Get your numbers right – make sure you are extremely thorough on how your business will be self-sustaining as if you get this wrong early on, it can be a real issue.
Accept failure as graciously as you can – somethings won’t work, and it’s important to quickly acknowledge what doesn’t and pivot!
Make sure you LOVE your business and your product – the highs of being an entrepreneur are really high, but equally, the lows are far worse than in a standard job. And your brain will be on your business 24 hours a day. So if you don’t love it, this will be a miserable experience.
Who are the 5 women who inspire you the most?
Martha Lane Fox
What is your favourite saying/inspirational quote?
Nothing comes out of nothing, but something will always come out of something. ie. try it!
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